THE SCOTTISH COMMANDOES
While in Bath, England I met Terry Lewis. Terry, while sitting outside a quaint coffee shop, shared with me his stint with the British Army Airborne Division. Being a former Marine who served in Viet Nam, I was intrigued. Terry served in the elite Special Force during WW2, known as the “Commandoes.”
While touring the Highland region of Scotland, my wife and I visited the Commando Memorial. Located near the Village of Spean Bridge, the memorial is dedicated to the men who served in the British Commando Forces during WW2.
Moved by these fearless warriors, I wrote out the words on the plaque dedicated to these extraordinary men of courage. (Noted below) After which, I felt Impressed to lay hands on the memorial for an impartation. I wasn’t disappointed.
THE SCOTTISH COMMANDOES 1940-1945
In the summer of 1940 Britain’s fortune in WW2 was at its lowest ebb and enemy invasion threatened. In response, Winston Churchill ordered the raising of an elite force to raid the enemy held coastline of Europe to gain the initiative.
The new unit initially consisted of volunteers from the regiment and corps of the British army and was called Commandoes. Within weeks they were in action in Europe, the Middle East and the Far East.
During the next five years, the Commandoes fought in every theater of war with such success that the word Commando became feared by the enemy and yet respected by friendly forces.
In 1942 the Commandos basic training center was established in the Scottish Highlands of Achnacarry (Near fort Williams). It was there that potential Commando soldiers, who then came not only from the British Army, but also the Royal Marines and their allies, underwent their tough and purposeful training.
Only those who successfully completed the course was accepted and privileged to wear the famous Green Beret. This distinctive headdress was acknowledged as the hallmark of the high standard of military training, self-discipline, physical endurance, initiative, bravery and courage that served under the single motto “UNITED WE CONQUER.” Under this motto, a comradeship beyond literary description was born, fostered and forged.
For their valor in action the Commandoes earned 38 battle honors and many awards including 8 Victor Crosses, but many made the supreme sacrifice. No fewer than 1700 Commandoes and soldiers lost their lives and others seriously wounded.
Their service and sacrifice prompted Winston Churchill to pay the following tribute to the Commandoes “We may feel sure that nothing of which we have any knowledge or record has ever been known by mortal men, which surpasses their feat of arms. Truly we may say of them, WHEN SHALL THEIR GLORY FADE “